Sunburn by Laura Lippman | Review

Posted February 22, 2018 by Asheley in review / 1 Comment

Sunburn by Laura Lippman | ReviewSunburn by Laura Lippman
Published by William Morrow on February 20, 2018
Pages: 384
Source: the publisher
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One is playing a long game. But which one?

They meet at a local tavern in the small town of Belleville, Delaware. Polly is set on heading west. Adam says he’s also passing through.

Yet she stays and he stays—drawn to this mysterious redhead whose quiet stillness both unnerves and excites him. Over the course of a punishing summer, Polly and Adam abandon themselves to a steamy, inexorable affair. Still, each holds something back from the other—dangerous, even lethal, secrets that begin to accumulate as autumn approaches, feeding the growing doubts they conceal.

Then someone dies. Was it an accident, or part of a plan? By now, Adam and Polly are so ensnared in each other’s lives and lies that neither one knows how to get away—or even if they want to. Is their love strong enough to withstand the truth, or will it ultimately destroy them?

Something—or someone—has to give.

Which one will it be?

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Sunburn by Laura Lippman was fantastic! I loved pretty much everything about it. The further I read, the more compelling the story became and by the time I got to the end, I felt like I was an actual cheerleader for this book. That’s silly, I know, but it was just so doggone good.

Polly has had enough out of her marriage – we find out very early in the story she leaves her husband and their young daughter to start over in a small town in Delaware. There she meets Adam, so cute, and he seems to like her. Polly reluctantly begins to see him and eventually they start a relationship and fall in love. This is not on purpose, mind you. Unbeknownst to Polly, Adam is working as a private investigator to dig up a certain piece of information about her. Adam has been hired to get close to Polly, infiltrate her life, and supply his client with the info he/she wants. Except! When Adam accidentally begins to fall in love with Polly, it becomes tricky to separate the information she tells him from the information he knows because of his investigation.

Polly doesn’t make things super-duper easy for Adam, either. Men haven’t historically been the nicest to her and she has some pretty big skeletons in her closet. Polly isn’t exactly an open book…until she is. Things get complicated between these two.

There are other characters at play: the waitress that has beef with both Polly and Adam for different reasons; the client that has employed Adam but has a damning history with Polly; Polly’s husband and daughter that she left; and then there are people from Polly’s long-ago-past. I tell you: just when I thought I had pieces of the story figured out, another surprise would come and NOPE! I’d have to start all over again. And then that brilliant ending happened and DID ANY OF MY OWN SLEUTHING MATTER ANYWAY? DID IT?!

Maybe. Or maybe not. I won’t say.

Sunburn by Laura Lippman is a dang good story. I was always 100% invested and 100% entertained. On the surface, there is the story itself, but there are deeper themes at play here. I won’t talk about them because, ugh spoilers; I don’t want to be that person. So I’ll leave it for you to figure out. It is best to go into this one only knowing what the book summary tells you. Just know that probably the best thing about this story is the fact that not even we (the readers) know what each of the characters know about each other most of the time, so this really is a mystery on so many levels. As the story nears the end and we can finally put everything together, the payoff is awesome. Are all of Laura Lippman’s books like this? If they are, I have tons of catching up to do. As it stands I’m hella impressed by this one (my first Lippman!).

Also, sidenote, can we stop for a minute and stare at the beauty that is that cover?


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About Laura Lippman

Laura Lippman Author Photo

Since Laura Lippman’s debut in 1997, she has been recognized as a distinctive voice in mystery fiction and named one of the “essential” crime writers of the last 100 years. Her books have won most of the major awards in her field and been translated into more than twenty languages. She lives in Baltimore and New Orleans with her family.

Photo by Leslie Unruh


About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


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